Online Political Science Degrees

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Now more than ever, the political atmosphere in our country is undergoing a transformation. If you are interested in understanding how the government works and pursuing careers that put you on the forefront of policy development and research, then an online Political Science degree could be the right choice for you!

Careers in Political Science

The careers associated with a Political Science major are varied across  the fields of research, teaching, business, law, and politics. Due to the broad nature of a Political Science degree, a background in this field can prepare you to pursue employment in lucrative, professional careers that have the potential to make key differences in your community and society as a whole.

To get you started, below is a short list of popular career choices within the field of Political Science – along with their median annual salaries:

Job Title Job Summary

Median Annual Salary

Attorney/Lawyer Advises clients and utilizes the law to take action on matters regarding legal rights and responsibilities.

$96,325

Director, Public Policy Board-executive position for an organization that deals with the making, blocking, and implementation of laws and regulations.

$82,063

Lobbyist Confers with elected officials and attempts to persuade them to take a stand on legislation in which the lobbyist’s clients have a vested interest.

$89,670

Executive Director, Non-Profit Organization Position equivalent to a CEO in a non-profit organization that is responsible for handling daily operations.

$64,735

Political Scientist Performs research and writes papers to construct reasonable arguments while tracking new developments in politics.

$70,000

*Job and salary data provided by Payscale.com


While you may make more or less than the numbers listed above, an online Political Science degree sets the stage for prestigious careers that offer annual wages that are well above the national average across all occupations. Whether you continue your education to pursue law or teaching careers or you work within the business or public sectors, those with a degree in Political Science have a great opportunity to build a rewarding, life-long career.

Types of Online Political Science Degrees

Modern students are often balancing career and family obligations in addition to their education. Fortunately, many of the nation’s top accredited universities are now offering Political Science degrees that can be earned at a pace that fits into your busy life! In the sections below, we will cover the most popular online degree offerings available in the field of Political Science:

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Political Science

The broad curriculum for this bachelor’s level online degree program provides a solid foundation for students in understanding politics, power, and the issues our society faces. A select number of universities also allow you to add a History specialization to your degree program in order to further your understanding of complex global issues.

In addition to your core classes, you will be expected to complete approximately 36 credits of program specific classes that may include:

  • American Government and the Constitution
  • International Relations
  • State and Local Government
  • Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • Comparative Politics

After successfully passing the required courses for your Political Science degree, you may also be expected to complete an in-depth research course. This capstone course will help you demonstrate the skills you have learned throughout the degree program and will cover current, relevant subject areas.

Online Master’s Degrees in Political Science

If you are interested in pursuing a career in education, politics, or as a political scientist, a master’s degree in Political Science is a logical step to further your education. This intensive 36 credit program focuses on the nuances of American government and politics, while stressing the importance of rigorous analysis.

The courses that you take throughout this online graduate degree program will help you develop the following essential skills for professional employment within the industry:

  • Critical analysis of political systems and public policy
  • Data and political research interpretation
  • Strategies for professional communication in political environments
  • Ethics, laws, and regulations surrounding politics
  • Accountability as an agent of change in society

Data shows that around 48% of political scientists work for the United States government, but there are also ample career opportunities in business and at a state and local level. Regardless of how you choose to utilize your skills within the workforce, an online master’s degree in Political Science is an excellent starting point to a professional career.

Political Science Career Outlook and Salary Information

Political Science is a constantly evolving field, and there are several factors that weigh into the projected career outlooks for jobs within the government setting. Due to the vast number of careers associated with a Political Science degree, it is always a good idea to research the data surrounding your prospective career field with reliable resources like the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Those who are interested in working as a political scientist are expected to see a 6% increase in employment through the year 2029, according to the BLS. However, if you secure a job within this field at the Federal level, you can expect to see an annual median salary of over $126,000!  The BLS also shows that the annual median salary for a lawyer is $122,9600, while a post-secondary teacher can see wages averaging $79,540 per year!

View our list of the top 40 Political Science careers to compare jobs and salaries in this field.

Is an Online Degree in Political Science Right for me?

Choosing to earn your Political Science degree through online education is an excellent tool for busy adults that are juggling work and family obligations. The degree programs offered by accredited universities combine the same course materials used by traditional, on-campus students with the flexibility of logging on to your classes anytime and anywhere.

Some of the popular benefits of working towards your Political Science degree online include:

  • Flexible scheduling and ability to specialize within your degree
  • Advanced online learning platforms
  • Access to extensive online research and library resources
  • Virtual lectures and workshops with top Political experts across the country
  • Reduced cost of tuition in some schools

While the flexibility of online education is a major draw for many students, it is important to understand that an online degree program is just as rigorous as traditional college education. Students that excel within the virtual learning environment are typically those with high self-motivation and a strong work-ethic.

Comparing Top Political Science Degree Programs

In addition to ensuring that your potential college can meet your scheduling needs and budget, there are also several important factors to consider before choosing a program that is right for you.

Accreditation

Accreditation is an essential component to choosing a reputable school to complete your online Political Science degree. By enrolling in an accredited university, you are ensuring that the curriculum and programs offered by the institution are in-line with high quality standards. Additionally, only accredited universities are able to offer federal financial aid to offset tuition costs.

While there is not a specific accrediting agency that is associated with the field of Political Science, there are several important names that you may come across while doing your research. To find out more about the accreditation of your school, check out the United States Department of Education’s website! Here they offer a full list of recognized national and regional accrediting agencies that you can reference when looking into the credentials of your school.

Student to Faculty Ratio

Having a small class size in your online Political Science courses can be extremely helpful in reaching your full potential within the program. By committing to keeping a low student to faculty ratio, your school is providing the supportive environment you need to connect with your instructors and have a personalized educational experience.

The quality of your college’s instructors is also a vital component to the quality of education you will be receiving. If you’d like to find out more about the Political Science professors employed by your school, take a look at the “Faculty” section of their website! Here you can see the education, qualifications, and accomplishments of the faculty members who will be teaching your classes.

Academic Advising and Student Services

In addition to high-quality curriculum and low student to faculty ratios, top universities with online programing reach out to their virtual Political Science students with a variety of academic advising and student services. These additional support programs may include:

  • 24-hour tech support for online learning platforms
  • Internship or residency programs in a variety of political career paths
  • Online tutoring and peer mentorship for assistance in challenging classes
  • Virtual career and academic advising services
  • Online discussion boards to promote connection among Political Science students

If you have an interest in government, politics and law and wish you turn your skills into a viable, rewarding career, a degree in Political Science is a great way to start your journey! Whether you continue your education with graduate degrees in law or education or you work directly in the government and political setting, a Political Science major is the perfect starting point to a variety of lucrative career opportunities.

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.